Google Analytics is one of the most powerful analytics tools out there for those in digital marketing. If you have access to a website’s Google Analytics account, you’ll know there can be hundreds of metrics and dimensions available for a site. Google Analytics can collect information about your website’s visitors (Audience), how they got there (Acquisition), what they did (Behavior), and whether they became a customer (Conversions). With so much information available in one place, it can be difficult to know which metrics you should pay attention to. That’s why we’ve listed out some of the most important Google Analytics metrics below, along with what they mean for your website.
To follow along, visit analytics.google.com and select the appropriate account, property and view for your website. When looking at data in Google Analytics, remember that you can select a date range you want to view data for on the top right hand of the dashboard. You can also compare this date range to the previous time period or previous year. Now, let’s get started!
The Audience Overview report in Google Analytics can help you get a better understanding of who is visiting your website. To view this report, click on the Audience dropdown on the left hand side of Google Analytics, then click on the Overview tab. Once the data has populated, you can quickly see how many users visited your site during the selected time frame, how many pages they visited collectively (Pageviews), and how long they were on your website (Avg. Session Duration).
While the Audience Overview does provide an at-a-glance look at your visitors’ demographics, more detailed information can be found in the other tabs under the Audience report, such as:
- Demographics: What age and gender are your website visitors?
- Interests: What are your visitors interested in? What are they in the market for?
- Geo: What language do visitors have their browser set to? Where are they visiting from?
- Behavior: Are your visitors new or returning? How many times have they visited your website?
- Mobile: What device are visitors using to engage with your website? (Mobile, Desktop, Tablet)
With a better understanding of who is visiting your business’s website, a digital marketer can tailor their site’s messaging and user experience for a user’s age, location, and device. Additionally, they can use this information to narrow down their target audience for internet marketing campaigns.
If you’re interested in knowing where your website’s visitors are coming from, then the Channels report is what you want to be looking at! To visit this report, click on the Acquisition dropdown on the left-hand side, click on the All Traffic tab, and select Channels. In this report, you’ll see important metrics related to each channel, such as:
- Users: How many users came in from the channel?
- Bounce Rate: What percentage of visitors did not interact with the page they visited?
- Avg. Session Duration: How long did visitors from this channel stay on your website?
- Goal Completions: How many conversions came in from the channel?
To further break down this information, click on the Channel name in the first column of the table. For example, if you click on “Paid Search”, you’ll see which specific keywords in your paid campaigns brought users to your website. Likewise, if you click on the “Social” channel, you’ll see what social networks your visitors are coming from. By breaking down the channels and related metrics, you can better determine which digital marketing efforts are driving traffic/revenue and which ones need improvement.
Located within the Behavior report, the Site Content section in Google Analytics can be extremely helpful in understanding how visitors engage with your website’s pages. The Landing Pages report in this section allows you to see which pages your visitors entered your site through. The Exit Pages report, on the other hand, shows which pages users visited before they exited your website.
Also located within Site Content, the All Pages report lists the top pages on your website by Pageviews. Your pages can also be sorted by other metrics, such as:
- Avg. Time on Page: How long do visitors typically spend on this page?
- Entrances: How many times did users enter through this page?
- Bounce Rate: What percentage of visitors did not interact with this page?
- % Exit: How often do visitors exit this particular page on the website?
With the information in the Site Content report, digital marketers can identify which pages are most likely to convert and which pages need to be improved or could use links to other pages. Additionally, knowing which pages receive the highest traffic can ensure you keep them up-to-date and optimized for user experience.
While having information about users, their behavior, and your website’s source of traffic can be beneficial to developing a digital marketing strategy, no metric in Google Analytics is perhaps more important than Goal Completions. To view this report, click the Conversions tab, select the Goals dropdown, and select Overview. The dashboard will then show you how many goals were completed on your website and what the conversion rate is for your site. If you have a value attributed to your goals, you’ll also be able to see the total goal value generated by your website. It is important to note that goals will only appear after they have been set up in Google Analytics. While Google Analytics allows you to create custom goals, such as tracking Thank You page visits after someone has filled out a contact form, it also offers the following goal templates:
- Revenue: Reservations, Make a Payment, Make an Appointment, Become a Partner
- Acquisition: Create an Account
- Inquiry: View more, Contact Us, Get Estimate, See Available, Find a Location
- Engagement: Media Play
The Goal Overview report can provide a digital marketer with a quick understanding of how well their website is doing at bringing new business. For a further look into conversions, Google Analytics also allows digital marketers to visualize conversion funnels and track e-commerce transactions.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that helps digital marketers track their website’s performance and identify opportunities for growth and improvement. With hundreds of metrics, dimensions, and segments available to filter data, it can be confusing knowing what is actually important. While we’ve listed some of the reports we consider to be important in Google Analytics, what is important will vary by business and industry. To learn more about Google Analytics and what you should be tracking for your business, contact the digital marketing experts at Geek Powered Studios.